Enrico Letta: Giorgia Meloni’s main rival in the early elections in Italy

Enrico Letta, leader of the Democratic Party, is Italy’s main center-left force and the main rival of Giorgia Meloni, whose political movement is leading opinion polls Early elections on Sunday.

Letta, 56, was the country’s prime minister.

He led a coalition that included centre-right forces after a 2013 election failed to produce a clear majority. But he lost the post of prime minister after just under 10 months when an ambitious Democrat, Matteo Renzi, maneuvered to take the post for himself.

Burned from the fall, Letta went to Paris to teach at the prestigious Sciences Po university. With the Democrats constantly plagued by power struggles, he returned to Italy to retake the reins of the party in March 2021.

Letta was thwarted in his bid to build a solid centre-left electoral alliance to challenge Meloni and her allies in Sunday’s election when the populist Five Star Movement, the largest party in the outgoing parliament, helped this summer to overthrow Draghi’s government.

The Democratic Party leads a left-wing coalition that lags behind the right-wing bloc made up of Melonis brothers of Italy in polls; Matteo Salvini’s Northern League; and Silvio Berlusconi’s Go Italy.

Letta’s party has a largely moderate, pro-European stance and is vehemently opposed to Putin and the war in Ukraine. It also openly supports LGBT rights, including same-sex marriage and anti-homophobia laws.

In particular, she warns of the rise of the Brethren of Italy, which she says could unleash an authoritarian tide.

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